Significant Tornado Events (7 Viewers)


pohnpei

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shanghai
Ok, I couldn't remember.
The path of the two tornados were quite close, some damage certainly can be confusing about which one should it belong to. The damage of Eustace EF4 tornado, to some extent, was overshadowed by Canton EF3 tornado. I can only find one aerial damage shot was from the EF4 tornado for sure and it was right before the tornado made the 180mph EF4 dmaage.

But I am very sure that the tree damage, vehicle damage and the house damage I posted before was from the EF3 one.
 

warneagle

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Given the rarity of personal cameras in the 1920s and the fact that the Tri-State Tornado mostly hit smaller towns and rural farms, I kind of doubt any photos were taken of it. Especially given that the descriptions of it make it sound like it was a very low LCL storm and it may have been rain-wrapped or hard to see for much of its lifespan. This is roughly the time period I work on as a historian (although not on the US), so I have plenty of experience not being able to find pictures of things from that era...
 
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217
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Missouri
Given the rarity of personal cameras in the 1920s and the fact that the Tri-State Tornado mostly hit smaller towns and rural farms, I kind of doubt any photos were taken of it. Especially given that the descriptions of it make it sound like it was a very low LCL storm and it may have been rain-wrapped or hard to see for much of its lifespan. This is roughly the time period I work on as a historian (although not on the US), so I have plenty of experience not being able to find pictures of things from that era...
The rapid forward speed of the thing (up to 73 mph) at times would also have made photography difficult. In terms of physical appearances Hackleburg is by far our closest modern example to what Tri-State may have been like in size, intensity, and appearance. Especially in this video below:


This vid of Tuscaloosa when it reached Birmingham and changed its appearance also likely similar to the Tri-State's appearance:


Perhaps there's some photographs from the era that are labeled as 'storm clouds' but are actually the tornado but due to it being LCL the photographer didn't recognize that he was actually looking at a tornado. Wouldn't surprise me if there's some photographs like that laying around in someone's attic or the basement of a government archives building and they've been all that forgotten. Who knows....

Also, check out this map of Southern Illinois tornado history. Several tornadoes have gone through this area with very similar paths to the Tri-State Tornado.tristate.jpg
 
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20
Location
Raleigh, NC
Oh yeah, LCL's by all accounts were very low that day and the environment in N AL on 4/27, above the thermal boundary that had settled across the area, was probably pretty similar. Very low T-Td spreads. If any photo exists, I'd think it would come from the Murphysboro or West Frankfurt area, those being the largest towns in the direct path of the tornado. Unlikely though.

Moving on, here's a pretty spectacular color photograph of the 1966 Topeka tornado
topeka665.jpg
And some interesting pictures from some of the worst-affected areas
00617910.jpg
I suspect some cleanup had occurred prior to this photograph being taken
25109427912_2f0ee003be_k.jpg
topeka663.jpg
Impressive tree damage outside of town
17569578818_c91a0052ae_h.jpg


Likely a case where the tornado was strongest outside of town to the west and gradually weakened as it moved through the city. The aerial photographs show damage was strongest on the west side of Topeka, immediately after it crested Burnett's mound, which is visible in the background of the third picture. Similar to Chandler, MN before the 1992 tornado, some residents of Topeka believed that Burnett's mound would disrupt any tornado approaching the town from the SW. Obviously, no such thing occurred in both cases. Perhaps this lends some anecdotal credence to the idea that tornadoes are prone to weakening on the upslope of a hill and strengthening on the downslope. I believe a UAH study conducted after 04/27(possibly already posted in this thread?) was the first to promote that theory or at least the first to flesh it out with observations on the ground/modern technology.
 
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217
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Missouri
Oh yeah, LCL's by all accounts were very low that day and the environment in N AL on 4/27, above the thermal boundary that had settled across the area, was probably pretty similar. Very low T-Td spreads. If any photo exists, I'd think it would come from the Murphysboro or West Frankfurt area, those being the largest towns in the direct path of the tornado. Unlikely though.

Moving on, here's a pretty spectacular color photograph of the 1966 Topeka tornado
View attachment 3817
And some interesting pictures from some of the worst-affected areas
View attachment 3818
I suspect some cleanup had occurred prior to this photograph being taken
View attachment 3819
View attachment 3820
Impressive tree damage outside of town
View attachment 3821


Likely a case where the tornado was strongest outside of town to the west and gradually weakened as it moved through the city. The aerial photographs show damage was strongest on the west side of Topeka, immediately after it crested Burnett's mound, which is visible in the background of the third picture. Similar to Chandler, MN before the 1992 tornado, some residents of Topeka believed that Burnett's mound would disrupt any tornado approaching the town from the SW. Obviously, no such thing occurred in both cases. Perhaps this lends some anecdotal credence to the idea that tornadoes are prone to weakening on the upslope of a hill and strengthening on the downslope. I believe a UAH study conducted after 04/27(possibly already posted in this thread?) was the first to promote that theory or at least the first to flesh it out with observations on the ground/modern technology.
Here's another pic of Topeka damage, this is from some neighborhoods near I-470.

Topeka.jpg

Honestly, I thought Topeka was overrated in terms of intensity, but it looks like it deserved the F5 rating it got at the time. But yeah, I agree it achieved peak intensity very briefly and was weakening as going through town, given that it lifted almost immediately after it exited the Topeka city limits.

Oh and here was the study involving terrain and tornadoes: https://ams.confex.com/ams/27SLS/webprogram/Paper255844.html
It involves observation of four violent tornadoes on 4/27 that encountered the Sand Mountain formation in Alabama.
 
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Raleigh, NC
Here's another pic of Topeka damage, this is from some neighborhoods near I-470.

View attachment 3822

Honestly, I thought Topeka was overrated in terms of intensity, but it looks like it deserved the F5 rating it got at the time. But yeah, I agree it achieved peak intensity very briefly and was weakening as going through town, given that it lifted almost immediately after it exited the Topeka city limits.

Oh and here was the study involving terrain and tornadoes: https://ams.confex.com/ams/27SLS/webprogram/Paper255844.html
It involves observation of four violent tornadoes on 4/27 that encountered the Sand Mountain formation in Alabama.
Well, it was certainly more intense than the Belmond, IA F5 later that year. The very flimsy basis for the F5 rating was a small, unanchored frame home that was "swept away" on the outskirts of town, next to similar homes that sustained F0-F1 damage. It had actually produced legit violent damage(minimal F4 according to Grazulis) further west in the city of Belmond and was pretty clearly weakening as it encountered the subdivision where the F5 damage was recorded. There was an aerial photo of the home/surrounding area on the old thread, lifted from Significant Tornadoes I think, that really emphasized the absurdity of the rating. I'd love to see it again if anyone has it saved.
 

buckeye05

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Riverside, Ohio
Yeah I’d say Topeka 1966 deserves its F5 rating based on what I have read about it, in combination with the damage photos. I’d say most of the houses sustained F4 damage, but the few that had their subflooring ripped off and were left with their basements exposed, yeah I’d call that marginal F5 if there were anchor bolts present (I’m fairly sure there were). It also produced pretty extensive grass scouring from what I’ve heard.

Also agreed on Belmond. No way that was an F5.
 
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217
Location
Missouri
Yeah I’d say Topeka 1966 deserves its F5 rating based on what I have read about it, in combination with the damage photos. I’d say most of the houses sustained F4 damage, but the few that had their subflooring ripped off and were left with their basements exposed, yeah I’d call that marginal F5 if there were anchor bolts present (I’m fairly sure there were). It also produced pretty extensive grass scouring from what I’ve heard.

Also agreed on Belmond. No way that was an F5.
It seems like they were incredibly lenient with what constituted F5 damage back then, especially the 60 and 70s. I've seen damage photographs from quite a few tornadoes from those decades and some, like Belmond or Lubbock, TX I can't find any picture that fully justifies the F5 ratings at all. Fujita made a bunch of questionable ratings, really. At least it seems like that.
 
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Lenexa, KS
It seems like they were incredibly lenient with what constituted F5 damage back then, especially the 60 and 70s. I've seen damage photographs from quite a few tornadoes from those decades and some, like Belmond or Lubbock, TX I can't find any picture that fully justifies the F5 ratings at all. Fujita made a bunch of questionable ratings, really. At least it seems like that.
Why would NWS/SPC keep the F5 rating for the Belmond, IA tornado and completely ignore tornadoes such as Worcester, MA and several of the April 11, 1965 tornadoes? I guess it is just human nature to be inconsistent.
 

warneagle

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The La Paz, IN tornado was slapped with an F3 rating, yet pictures like this demonstrate it was far stronger. And yeah, there were at least 5 F5s that day.

View attachment 3825
Both Dunlap/Elkhart tornadoes, Coldwater, Strongsville, and Toledo would all be F5s under some of the, ah, more liberal standards used in cases like Belmond.
 
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Raleigh, NC
It is strange that these uber-strict rating standards were retroactively applied to the Palm Sunday tornadoes, yet most other events of the same time period haven't been subjected to the same kind of scrutiny and that's including the Super Outbreak. The Depauw IN and Sayler Park IN F5s are dubious at best in my opinion. Heck, Xenia and the second Tanner tornado, if we're using Palm Sunday standards, are a little questionable too. Lubbock 1970, Wheelersburg-Gallopolis 1968, Wichita Falls 1964, Oelwein 1968(Charles City has a slightly better case) imo all fall under the category of questionable F5's around the same time.
 

warneagle

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Yeah, I get that reconstructing the pre-1970 ratings with the information that was available at the time was difficult, but the level of inconsistency is still kind of surprising.
 
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The Bertie County EF3(04/16/2011) left behind probably the most intense tree damage I've ever seen in NC. The vehicles left behind on the property originated from another home across the street. Properties in this area tend to be spaced pretty far apart so these vehicles were likely lofted a considerable distance. These photos are from the Colerain, NC by zip code, but in reality were taken between Askewville and Colerain.
Colerain23.jpg
colerain96.jpg
Some more tree damage from the same general area
coleraindamage.jpg
5657758628_f9c15b3f83_z.jpg
What appears to be substantial grass scouring can be seen at 2:18 in this video. The state of the vehicle backs that up.
The tornado itself:

An excellent writeup from NC State on the day overall:
https://projects.ncsu.edu/atmos_collaboration/nwsfo/storage/cases/20110416/

It didn't encounter anything well constructed enough to warrant an EF4 rating, but the contextual damage and high death toll in a small area(6 to 8 miles between Askewville and Colerain) with low population density leads me to believe that it was one of the more violent tornadoes in North Carolina history. It's also pretty difficult to pin down where the tornado was strongest. From what I've gleaned from local news reports and some stories from a few locals, there was a few mile stretch in the Colerain zip where several poorly anchored brick(at least brick veneer) homes were completely obliterated and scattered long distances into adjacent wooded areas.The photos above represent some of the damage in that area.

As an aside, that day was the only time I've ever been legitimately terrified of the weather here. That day had a totally different feel than the couple of moderate risk days between then and now.
 

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The Bertie County EF3(04/16/2011) left behind probably the most intense tree damage I've ever seen in NC. The vehicles left behind on the property originated from another home across the street. Properties in this area tend to be spaced pretty far apart so these vehicles were likely lofted a considerable distance. These photos are from the Colerain, NC by zip code, but in reality were taken between Askewville and Colerain.
View attachment 3827
View attachment 3828
Some more tree damage from the same general area
View attachment 3829
View attachment 3831
The tornado itself:

An excellent writeup from NC State on the day overall:
https://projects.ncsu.edu/atmos_collaboration/nwsfo/storage/cases/20110416/

It didn't encounter anything well constructed enough to warrant and EF4 rating, but the contextual damage and high death toll in a small area(6 to 8 miles between Askewville and Colerain) with low population density leads me to believe that it was one of the more violent tornadoes in North Carolina history. It's also pretty difficult to pin down where the tornado was strongest. From what I've gleaned from local news reports and some stories from a few locals, there was a few mile stretch in the Colerain zip where several poorly anchored brick(at least brick veneer) homes were completely obliterated and scattered long distances into adjacent wooded areas.The photos above represent some of the damage in that area.

As an aside, that day was the only time I've ever been legitimately terrified of the weather here. That day had a totally different feel than the couple of moderate risk days between then and now.
The most violent Carolina tornado outbreaks are from 1884 and 1984, respectively, but this Bertie, County deal seems to give them a run for their money.
 

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